Lamentations 3 - Outline of Lamentations (MENU page)
A Man of Sorrows wrestles under God's Wrath, ch. 3
This chapter is the high point of the book. It is here that the prophet begins to come to terms with the terrible destruction that has come upon his people, and finds reason for hope.

Although the chapter is set in the first person and begins "I am the man...," many scholars think these are the words of Jerusalem personified (as in 1:12-22; 2:22).
     However, much of the chapter can apply only to a man, not to a city (eg., 3:14,52-54). Jeremiah experienced things similar to those mentioned by "the man" here (cp. Jer 1:18,19 with Lam 3:52 -- Jer 20:7,8 with Lam 3:63 -- Jer 11:18,19 with Lam 3:60 -- Jer 38:4-13 with Lam 3:53-58 -- Jer 9:1; 13:17; 14:17 with Lam 3:48,49). Therefore, it is evident that Jeremiah is speaking here.
     However, portions of the chapter are in the first person plural ("we... us... our," v.22, 42-47). In some of these sections, Jeremiah is echoed by other individuals whose hearts are in harmony with his. These are the mingled voices of the believing remnant, praying for the promised restoration of Israel.
     There is yet a third voice audible here. It is that of the LORD our Righteousness (whom we observed, in our study, near the end of chapter 1). The chapter, before us, contains numerous parallels and allusions to other OT passages which, according to the NT, are Messianic foreviews of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps because of its unique perspective, this chapter is also set apart from the others by its literary style. There are 66 verses in ch. 3, compared to the 22 verses in the other four chapters. Whereas each verse in ch. 1, 2 and 4 begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet, chapter 3 is arranged in triplets. Each verse of each group of three verses begins with the next Hebrew letter. "This triple formation harmonizes with the triple relationship of the Elegy {Lament} of the Spirit of Christ in the Prophet personally, in the Remnant prophetically, and in Christ Himself absolutely." [in quotes, GWms]

Note also that this chapter does not begin with "How... {Alas...}," as do the two chapters before and the chapter following. In those chapters, the observing prophet is stunned by what has happened to his city and people. He sorrowfully reports the consequences of their sin. In chapter three, the one who speaks bears the weight of that sin personally, as a representative of the people, before the LORD (cp. Isa 53:4-7).

I. A man of Sorrows, v.1-18 (cp. Isa 53:3)
II. A man whose Hope is in the LORD, v.19-40
III. A man of Prayer, v.41-66 -
    Here again, Jeremiah pictures Christ. (The psalms, cited below, are Messianic.)
  1. Repentance of sin, acknowledgment of God's righteous judgment, v.41-47.- This section, which is written in the plural (we, us...),
    represents the prayer of the believing remnant prior to the promised restoration. Deu 30:1-3; Jer 29:13
    Jeremiah owns the sin of his people, in this prayer of confession, as did Daniel (in Dan 9:4-15).
    In a deeper sense, Jesus took our sins upon Himself (Psa 40:12; Isa 53:5,6; 2Cor 5:21)
  2. Intercession for his people, v.48-51 - The remainder of the chapter is again in the singular.
    Jeremiah intercedes earnestly in behalf of his countrymen, whose sin had separated them from God.
    While the prayers of the sinful people were shut out from God's Holy Presence (cp. v.44; Isa 59:1,2), Jeremiah prayed for them (v.49,50; eg., Jer 14:7-9; Jam 5:16).
    Godly men will pray, for they are moved by the heart of God (eg., Daniel, Dan 9:16-19; Paul, Rom 9:1-3).
    The Savior "ever lives to make intercession..." Luk 19:41-43; Heb 7:25-27
  3. Petition for personal deliverance, v.52-55 -
    Jeremiah's experiences of persecution, including the threat to his life when he was thrown into the dungeon (Jer 38:1-6), foreshadow the sufferings of Christ... without a cause... life cut off... cast a stone upon me... waters over my soul... Psa 69:1-4,15; 116:1-4
  4. Praise for personal redemption, v.56-59; cp. Psa 116:5-9
    "Thou has redeemed my life..." (v.58) - This speaks of redemption accomplished by the 'kinsman redeemer' {HB= 'goel,' cp. Isa 59:20}, the LORD who became a man, to redeem His 'brethren' (Heb 2:10-18). The price of redemption was paid with His own life blood. Thus, this verse also speaks of the Savior's resurrection, apart from which there would be no redemption for those for whom He died (Psa 16:10,11; 1Cor 15:1-4,17
  5. Request for destruction of enemies, v.61-66; cp. Psa 69:21-29
    Those, who refuse the redemption for which the Savior paid, must pay the wages of sin for themselves, for the LORD will purge all uncleanness from His Kingdom. Heb 2:1-4; 10:28,29

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